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How do I become an architect, via education?

I love buildings and designing Legos, and have always loved buildings things. I am also very good at math. I am going t o take German in high school. Not sure what college though. #architect and #college

Thank you comment icon Hi Nathan! A good college to go to would be Ohio State if you're going to get an architecture degree. They have a really nice architecture program ☺. Taylor

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Elyse’s Answer

Hi Nathan,
I think for starters I would narrow down what you're looking for when it comes to College. For example, staying local or going away, class size, programs they have to offer - in your case architecture, scholarships offered, sports, extracurricular, etc. These are all important factors to think about when deciding on which college you would like to attend!

Best,
Elyse T.
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Luke’s Answer

On choices of specific universities:
This is the most well-regarded rankings of architecture schools. Mainly because they take it very seriously and it's real research they do not just some website. Before 2020 they did this by interviewing people in hiring positions. Personally, that's what I like rankings to be, who are they looking to hire! Starting in 2020 they changed it and I think really watered it down and made it less useful. There are some schools that may not be top overall but are very well regarded for a specific aspect of their program. Auburn is a great example with their Rural Studio.
The schools in these rankings I think are going to be more math/sci focused than design-focused which sounds like it might be what you're looking for. Cal Poly and VaTech are great examples. These also favor large schools with more graduates as more people surveyed will be familiar with their grads. I imagine most all of the top-10 have >100 students per graduating class.

https://www.architecturalrecord.com/articles/13611-top-architecture-schools-of-2019

NAAB also has a listing of all accredited (B.Arch and M.Arch and I think D.Arch) programs.
Thank you comment icon thanks. this really helped Nathan
Thank you comment icon you're welcome, thanks for the feedback. Luke Durkin, NCARB, AIA
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Luke’s Answer

Requirements vary by state. Some allow licensure w/o any education. You can also work in the architectural field, make good money and advance quite far w/o being licensed.

Typically to be licensed most states require either a NAAB accredited Bachelor of Architecture (5-year) or Masters of Architecture (2yrs+).
Degrees like Bach of Arts in Arch, BS, BFA, Bach of Env Design are 4-year programs and typically aren't enough to get licensed.
Master of Science in Arch is a commonly offered 1-2 year program but usually is not a path of licensure.

The B.Arch and M.Arch are considered by most all to be equal. Even the NAAB requirements are almost identical.
-If you're sure you want to be an architect, the B.Arch is undoubtedly the way to go. You get into architecture right away rather than more gradually in 4-year programs typically. You'll also save about $100k over a 4+2 (4yr degree+M.Arch) You save the cost of tuition plus the lost wages of an extra year in school.
-If you aren't sure that is where the 4+2 has its an advantage. After 4yrs you can always get a Master's in something else. If you want to have a less intense route, the first 2 years of a 4yr program are typically more similar to other degrees than the intensive, long-studio hours, typical of architecture.

NCARB is the main source of info on licensure requirements and does it's best to aggregate each states rules.
NAAB for accredited univ's is also a source.

Also, be aware some schools offer a pre-arch program. I'm not too familiar with these. The main disadvantage is you have to reapply, typically after 2 years. So you aren't guaranteed to be able to continue with the degree! I don't think these are a good indicator of your future success in the profession but rather an assessment of design and who the early-bloomers are. Many students don't really come into their own until their 3rd year.
Another option is to start out in a community college and transfer in. Where I went to college you save tuition but it added a year to your education which negates most or all of the cost savings. (1 year lost wages is often much more than a year in school)

Luke recommends the following next steps:

NCARB
NAAB
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Raya’s Answer

Hi Nathan

I would definitely suggest looking into Architecture programs at various colleges. There are lots of options there for you so I think you will end up making your decision based on a range of factors.

1. I would suggest starting by visiting one or two schools closest to you that have an Architecture program. At this stage it does not matter so much if you like the school, you are just trying to learn what questions to ask. So make sure you get the tour of the college and talk to somebody in the program to understand how it works. See if you can get to talk to a professor or an upper class student.

2. Next, think about what is important to you in a college. Do you want to be close to home or not? Do you want a big school? In a city or not? Visit a couple very different schools to confirm your assumptions. There are great virtual tours available if you are unable to travel.

3. Think about the cost of college. It's a big investment and you want to be careful about how much you want to spend.

4. Using the information you learned so far, compile your short list. Now dig deeper and understand more about each school and the difference in their programs and approach.

And remember, it does not matter all that much. Honestly. If you really love the field and apply yourself, you will do fine.

Cheers
Raya
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